Benefits of digitilization as Tate & Lyle sees demand for oats increase tenfold

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Oat processing plant goes digital says Tate & Lyle.
Oat processing plant goes digital says Tate & Lyle.

Related tags Oat

Tate & Lyle is celebrating the first anniversary of its remodelled oat processing plant in Sweden after seeing demand for oats rise tenfold.

The company partnered with ABB technology after acquiring Biovelop​ oat based food ingredients, in 2013 and modernized and expanded its factory in Kimstad, Sweden.

Increasing capacity

Since implementing ABB’s variable speed drives, motors, motor control cabinets (MCCs) and valve positioners it continued the expansion last year by building a system where Tate & Lyle’s engineers can digitally interact with the system, commission (start) devices, and diagnose performance deviations or failures globally.

"We have seen a more than tenfold increase in capacity with the same number of shift operators compared to four years ago​," said Annika Werneman, plant manager, Tate & Lyle.

"It's a huge change in such a short time, and it means we've gone from a low-level facility to one that can deliver a high quality product to our customers globally​."

According to Leatherhead, the global market for specialty food ingredients, including health and wellness products, is growing with annual sales of $51bn and annual growth of 4-5%. 

Nutritional benefits

Oats are involved in this trend as they offer nutritional and functional benefits, thanks to their beta glucan soluble fiber which can lower cholesterol and reduce post prandial glycaemic response, as confirmed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

It was these properties of the grain that made the sector an attractive one to Tate & Lyle when it made a decision to diversify its portfolio.

Petter Hollertz, area sales manager, ABB, said digitization can yield immense productivity and output gains from existing facilities.

It ensures operational consistency, and reduces total cost of ownership by enabling staff to manage processes without being physically present at each site by installing ABB’s remote monitoring and fieldbus flexibility in the drives​,” he added.

ABB delivered automation equipment including 85 variable speed drives (VSDs) with power ratings, ranging from 0.37 kW to 55 kW, a range of MNS 3.0 motor control cabinets, low voltage motors and 44 Digital Electro pneumatic postioners TZID-C with Hart protocol for the control valves.

The process can run 24 hours, seven days a week, all year long.

Leo Dijkstra, power & controls team leader Europe, Tate & Lyle, added ABB designed the equipment so the fieldbus responsible for device control is split from the fieldbus used for asset management.

"This means I can make changes to the configuration of the devices without the risk of the whole network going down​,” he said.

"In our pump applications alone, we are using up to 50% less energy thanks to the variable speed drives, and have been running non-stop for the last two years without a single failure​." 

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